Oh four oh five oh six --  04/05/06

Today is 04/05/06 -- unless you do things in the European fashion, in which case this is 05/04/06 and you should just file this thought away until early May -- however, if you use American style mm/dd/yy date notation, then not only is this 04/05/06, but if you were up and awake (or if you had stayed up late watching television), then at one hour and two minutes and three seconds you might have noticed that it was 01:02:03 04/05/06. (Okay, or if you checked your watch after lunch and were using a.m. and p.m. instead of 24 hour time.)

Somebody (and I can't remember where I saw this) pointed out that in 2010, in August (U.S. with suitable adjustments for Euro-style dates to happen a month less one day later), on the 9th, at thirty-four minutes and 56.7 seconds past noon, you would have the first ten integers in sequence because it would be 12:34:56.7 8/9/10

Yes, you might say I am easily amused -- but that's not quite true. There are many things that appear to amuse millions of people (such as almost anything that is on television) but fail to amuse me at all; however, I can be quite amused by some truly strange things...

And April is Mathematics Awareness Month. (And you believed old Thomas Stearns Elliot when he said April was the cruelest month?). The MAM theme this year is Mathematics and Internet Security (you see, when you visit a Web site to make a purchase, they use mathematics to help keep your transaction secure. Gee whiz, really Mr. Wizard?)

I had a bit of fun teasing Nancy about MAM, telling her that looking at the list of annual themes for Mathematics Awareness Month made me think that their board meetings might be a little strange -- board meetings of the JPBM (okay, go ahead and snicker -- JPBM stands for Joint Policy Board for Mathematics).

Their Web site also lists the official theme for MAM for the past twenty or so years, complete with hyperlinks to information about the theme for each year (press releases, suggested activities, etc.) -- although there are no links for the years 1986 through 1990. That is a disappointment because 1988's theme was 100 Years of American Mathematics and I am really wondering how our nation got through more than a century of existence without mathematics. How could they have taken the census, or done the engineering work to build canals and railroads and bridges... my goodness, do they mean that the Brooklyn Bridge was built without knowledge of mathematics? Did they have to contact a call center in Bangalore (via clipper ship instead of 800 number?) to have the needed calculations done off-shore because we didn't have mathematics in America until 1888? (Okay, so I know they didn't really mean that -- this is just a collection of math geeks who have become bureaucrats and, thus, totally tone deaf to the nuances of the English language.)

I got a reply back from Borders/WaldenBooks

Dear Jim,

Thank you for your expression of concern about our decision not to carry the issue of Free Inquiry magazine featuring cartoons depicting Muhammad. Borders is committed to our customers' right to choose what to read and what to buy and to the First Amendment right of Free Inquiry to publish the cartoons. In this particular case, we decided not to stock this issue in our stores because we place a priority on the safety and security of our customers and our employees. We believe that carrying this issue presented a challenge to that priority.

We value your thoughts and sincerely appreciate that you invested your time to tell us how you feel about the issue. I can assure you that our management team gave careful deliberation to this decision and considered all sides of the issue before reaching this conclusion. As always, we are interested in customer feedback about our choices and while we know you do not agree with our position, we hope you can understand the challenge of balancing the needs of our customers, employees and our communities.



Customer Resolution Specialist

Well, I'm glad they responded, but I still think that they are absolutely wrong and are allowing these extremist mobs in the Middle East and Europe to dictate what Americans can find in their bookstores. It's just like Chamberlin giving in to Hitler to achieve "peace in our times." What's next? Remove any book that some Islamic "leader" finds offensive. Stop selling books by Salman Rushdie? How about banning sales of the the Bible? "In order to balance the needs of our employees not to be beheaded." (Just see what happens to you if you are caught bringing a Bible into someplace like Saudi Arabia?) Perhaps mandate that all female employees must wear head scarves and floor-length dresses? Add coverage for clitorectomies to the employee insurance program and make the procedure mandatory for all daughters of employees?

The Dhimmis are preparing for their Dhimmitude.

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